Originally Posted by rowland
Any advice for the noob?
Ok i will try and keep this short but will likely fail.
The only real experience i have is the local hookah bar. I dont have to set anything up i just kick back and enjoy. Mostly i smoke apple (which has a strange anise taste for some reason). Ok so my first hookah arrived the other day, it is a single hose Egyptian (22"). I think i have it set up correctly but guess i would not know if i were wrong.
Many Apples (normally double apples) have a heavy Anise taste. You tend to either love it or hate it. Try some Esk or Briani Apples for a non-anise taste.
I am using Golden Coals and Romman Shisha (raspberry and mango).
I am not really in love with the Romman, as they both taste the same (honeyish?).
The smoke is really thin and weak.
Rommans uses Honey instead of molasses, I believe, thus explaining the "honey" taste.
What i am looking for is a really good tasting shisha and a heavy/thick smoke.
Mostly i have been using a screen, but today i did try foil, the screen worked the better of the two.
I have checked the hookah and it all seems tight. I would say the down stem is about 1" under water.
Any advice you can offer?
For easy reply,
1) How do you get those heavy smoke clouds (methods or brands)
Heavy smoke all depends on brand, packing, and heat. Certain brands will provide better smoke (Layalina, AF, and others). Packing the bowl correctly is very important, you need good airflow for good smoke! Many people turn the bowl upside down after putting on the foil/screen and blow thru the bottom. I find this makes sure the shisha is loose and the airflow is good, and pushes the foil back off the top from when you poked the holes in the foil.
But, setting up your own hookah takes pratice - don't expect to sit down the first few weeks and get everything right. And as for heat - the right coals and AMOUNT of coals, as well as placement is also VERY important. Try breaking in half Round coals, that helps. Place the pieces or seprate silver tabs along the outside edge FIRST. Also, try using a windcover for the first 5-10 mins, helps heat up the shisha to good smoking temp.
2) What brand has a very rich flavor and a good smoke?
The best brands I've found for smoke & flavor: Layalina, Al Fakher, Fusion, Al Waha, and Nakhla. My personal favs are: Esk Apple (golden line) Al Fakher, Afternine Al Waha, Cocomint Nakhla, and Peach Layalina.
3) screens or foil?
I prefer foil to a metal or glass screen. For foil, use heavy duty or two layer of thin type. For metal screens, I rotate my coals more often than w/ foil. Glass will burn the shisha, but is very usable. Take the most pratice to use correctly. Good tip: never fill the bowl to the top - leave a small space between the shisha and the foil/screen - this helps prevent burning.
4) any other advice a noob needs to know?
Either use ice water or chill the base.
Make sure to clean your hose (if washable) or blow hard thru a non-wahsable version.
Clean your hookah often.
Remember certain brands of shisha are ALOT pickier and difficult to get a good smoke.
Cook your coals till they have an ashover.
thanks for the help.